Felix Yanwei Wang

I am an EECS PhD student at MIT, working with Julie Shah on learning from human demonstrations.

Before MIT, I did my MS in robotics at Northwestern University and researched with Todd Murphey and Mitra Hartmann on active sensing. I completed my undergraduate degree in physics at Middlebury College with Richard Wolfson.

Outside research, I enjoy theatre and backpacking. I thru-hiked PCT in 2019.

Email / Twitter

profile photo

I'm interested in leveraging data-driven methods to make intelligent systems perform robustly in uncertain environments.

Temporal Logic Imitation: Learning Plan-Satisficing Motion Policies from Demonstrations
Yanwei Wang, Nadia Figueroa, Shen Li, Ankit Shah, Julie Shah
arxiv / code / project page
CoRL 2022 (Oral, acceptance rate: 6.5%)

We present a continuous motion imitation method that can provably satisfy any discrete plan specified by a Linear Temporal Logic (LTL) formula. Consequently, the imitator is robust to both task- and motion-level disturbances and guaranteed to achieve task success.

Visual Pre-training for Navigation: What Can We Learn from Noise?
Yanwei Wang, Ching-Yun Ko, Pulkit Agrawal
arxiv / code / project page
IROS 2023
NeurIPS 2022 Workshop (Synthetic Data for Empowering ML Research / Self-Supervised Learning)

By learning how to pan, tilt and zoom its camera to focus on random crops of a noise image, an embodied agent can pick up navigation skills in realistically simulated environments.

MIT Museum Interactive Robot Exhibition: Teach a Robot Motions
Nadia Figueroa, Yanwei Wang, Julie Shah

We installed an interactive exhibition at MIT Museum that allows non-robot-experts to teach a robot an inspection task using demonstrations. The robustness and compliance of the learned motion policy enables visitors (including kids) to physically perturb the system safely 24/7 without losing a success gaurantee.

Active Learning for Object Search
Yanwei Wang, Todd Murphey

This research project studies the application of two information gain methods in a search problem: 1. Infotaxis - Search guided by entropy minimization 2. Ergodic exploration - Search guided by proportional coverage.

Active Sensing with Tactile Sensors
Yanwei Wang, Mitra Hartmann

This research project studies how active sensing, i.e., choosing what data to collect, can improve data efficiency for decision-making under uncertainty. Inspired by the active whisking behavior of rats, we use simulated rat whisker sensory signals as a model for spatial-temporal data to learn policies that first collect observations and then classify object shapes.

Multi-agent Distributed Sensing and Control
Yanwei Wang, Michael Rubinstein

This research project studies multi-agent distributed algorithms concerning coordination, segregation, and locomotion, with a hardware implementation of robust localization with cheap sensors on a low-cost underactuated system.

Analyzing Energy Efficiency of Bio-Inspired Wind Generator
Yanwei Wang, Richard Wolfson


For my undergraduate physics thesis at Middlebury College, I did a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation of Festo's Dual-Wing generator using COMSOL CFD package.


Miscellaneous class projects.

Planning through Soft Contact
Terry Suh, Yanwei Wang


We compare the effectiveness of relaxation methods for warm starting trajectory optimization through soft contact.

Lane Detection for Self-Driving Applications